By editorial staff
Italy’s most popular blue lounge is preparing new episodes, with guests including Sofa
Viscardi and Antonio Dikele Distefano. From the original YouTube channel to various
social networks – Instagram and Facebook, passing through Twitch –the format that
has garnered so many views and is the most loved by Generation Z is ready to return to
our digital screens.
The topics of the future, which can no longer be postponed, voices and role models
for young people, and more: 2 guests per episode, the worlds of two generations
compared. Diversity, respect, rights, music and culture to help us understand our
everyday world; 9 episodes coming up… and a couple of surprises.
The first 3 seasons of Basement Café by Lavazza collected 32 episodes featuring 44 talented partic ipants, on the comfortable chairs of Antonio Dikele Distefano and Sofa Viscardi, first the best Italian rappers, who are still a constant presence, and many of Italy’s most famous public fgures, singers, professors, journalists, athletes, women, and astronauts.
This widely viewed programme returns with 9 episodes and the same number of couples, online every fortnight from the end of September, strengthened by its community and the need to address the issues for its fourth season, including social justice and dignity for future generations.
The Lavazza format is looking to go far and beyond, as was the case last year with the season broadcast in Germany.
Since October 2020, the original Basement Café by Lavazza YouTube channel has generated 5.8 million views, thanks to almost 37,000 subscribers and 2.3 million unique users – 80% of whom are young and very young, aged between 16 and 35. Reactions (84,000 likes), comments (over 3000), shares: the platform has offered dialogue and encounters between those who, especially in the last year, have sought escape routes and paths to knowledge, as evidenced by the high and satisfactory average time of views (over 12 minutes) compared to the hit-and-run consumption of content on social networks we are all unconsciously used to.
From reality to social media, and vice versa: so far, the programme has been like a round trip of mutual exchanges, which has virtuously investigated the lives of younger generations from a 360-degree angle. Following its debut on YouTube, Basement has been on Facebook since its second season, and on the video streaming platform Twitch since its third season – and again, thanks to the consolidated network of editorial partners, online in Esse Magazine, Venti and Chili. And of course we must mention Instagram, the favourite social network of the 44 talents, who have gone from being guests to devoted fans of the blue lounge and good coffee, of the underground world of Basement Café by Lavazza.
The next set of guests is already on-set and will be online from autumn. Civil rights, respect for diversity, relating to societies of the past and the future, up to and including caring for the preferred means of expression, music and video: the fil rouge that holds together the meetings chosen by Sofia Viscardi, who feels increasingly at ease in the Basement, is that of interpreting modernity. Ten leading fgures, who meet in pairs, as usual, over the course of 5 appointments.
The digital space and memory are the topics discussed by Roberto Saviano, a writer and journalist who is one of the most important exponents of contemporary culture, and Yotobi, the founding father of YouTube Italia, with his sharp video-reviews. The episode on the revolution of inclusive language cannot but feature the schwa (ɘ: the gender-neutral form) and those who use it, such as the linguist and essayist Vera Gheno, and Sio, a successful cartoonist. Diversity and support for gender equality, in the panel with Pietro Turano, who is a well-known actor featured in Skam Italia and an adviser for ArciGay, and Fumettibrutti, the alias of Josephine Yole Signorelli, the award-winning cartoonist. The history of peoples compared with personal history, between music and popularisation, is the theme of the meeting between Professor Alessandro Barbero and singer-songwriter Levante. Current affairs and the fght against organised crime appear, on the other hand, in the testimonies and work of Pif, the director and presenter of school investigations, and Diletta Bellotti, already one of the most important activists on the Italian scene at the age of only 25.
The urban scene with Antonio Dikele
Host and gentleman author in search of urban stories Antonio Dikele Distefano presents his 4 episodes. The main players in the Italian rap scene are back: two generations and two cities face each other and discuss, with Jake La Furia, a legend from the former Club Dogo and the spiritual father of Italian rap in Milan, and J Lord, who has just come of age but is already the next big thing on the scene, directly from Naples; and again, the world of producers, of those behind the great success of the biggest hits, in the voices of Mace and The Night Skinny.
From rap and music to storytelling, to the issues it highlights: another meeting brings us Madame, the 19-year-old who already starred at the Sanremo music festival, an overwhelming and unique artist, in the company of Daria Bignardi, who has been a highly successful journalist and presenter for over 30 years. Last but not least, we have the theme of the invisible, of those who fght for basic rights every day, and the courage of their dreams, in the wise words of Aboubakar Soumahoro, trade unionist and leader of labourers and the exploited, who will be confronted with the world of Gaia, one of the most remarkable new voices on the Italian music scene.
The beauty of diversity
The diffculties of the present almost make the necessary questions unspeakable – daughters of collective needs – that Basement Café by Lavazza wants to ask. How do we imagine the future? What words will we use to talk about ourselves tomorrow? Which habits or thoughts can we do without and which ones can we try to include in our routine? While a common sentiment is that we should look back with nostalgia to the past and be disillusioned with the future, the great upheavals experienced in recent months mean that we must look to tomorrow with new imagination and no fear, if faced with radical choices that can no longer be put off.
The theme of rights and respect for diversity, naturally experienced most commonly by younger generations, is one of those contexts investigated. How to break down prejudices and boost individual freedom – especially in terms of gender and sexual identity – is part of the daily work of some of Sofia Viscardi’s guests.
The meeting with Pietro Turano and Fumettibrutti, for example, will deal with this, thanks to their first-hand experiences: that of Pietro, aimed at performers in the world of entertainment and focused on education, to create greater awareness and freedom from the prejudice that still surrounds homosexuality, or that of Josephine, the cartoonist, who in her drawings (as she did throughout her trans adolescence) captures in black and white that intimate and emotional inner life that is common to everyone regardless of gender differences.
Sio and Vera Gheno, authors in different felds but linked by their careful use of language to make it more inclusive, will talk about this. Just as the linguist has brought to public attention the inclusion of the schwa (ɘ) as a neutral word ending in everyday speech and written texts, so Sio has included
it in his cartoons, open to new kinds of word play.